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Smoking is inversely associated with COVID-19

Sep, 2020

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According to the team, recent studies have shown that many COVID-19 patients (who smoke) are hospitalized across the world.

Smoking has several adverse health effects such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease. The research team from Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Washington has reported a significant inverse connection between current smoking and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic) mortality rates in around 40 countries. According to the researchers, the difference in mortality between those countries with the lowest and highest smoking prevalence is large, mainly in terms of the effect of smoking.

The team suspects that unknown confusing factors might be responsible for the perceived effect of smoking. Moreover, the researchers have also noted that the magnitude and broader impact of the association may highlight the importance of the further investigation. A pre-print version of the research is available on the medRxiv server. According to the team, recent studies have shown that many COVID-19 patients (who smoke) are hospitalized in Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, Kuwait, South Korea, Iran, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, and China.

During this research, the team examined the connection between smoking prevalence and mortality after adjusting for known risk factors linked to COVID-19 mortality and after adjusting for several variables such as average ambient temperature, age over 65 years, obesity prevalence, and sex ratio. According to Novel Coronavirus 2019: Emergence and Implications for Emergency Care, only a 3% mortality rate has been reported for the COVID-19 compared to 15% or 35% for MERS and SARS, respectively. Moreover, the research published in the same journal showed that smoking is associated with an increased prevalence of COVID-19, suggesting that smokers are at high risk and expected to develop the disease. The team examined around 12 research papers to find out the connection between COVID-19 and smoking.

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